In an effort to squeeze more minutes for education into the school day — and thus the school year as well — the Moore County Board of Education had agreed to adopt a trimester block schedule at Moore County High School for the 2013-14 school year.
After the board was addressed by MCHS principal Buddy Smith during its March meeting, it decided that moving toward a trimester schedule would be the best thing for the high school, according to Moore County Director of Schools Chad Moorehead.
“As a school, we’ve very much embraced our (role) to make sure our students are college and career ready,” Smith said at last month’s meeting. “We really need to scrutinize what we’re doing and a lot of that begins with the schedule. We really need to look at the schedules and the efficiencies we can gain (with a change).”
The school board began looking into different options, ways to increase class time and decrease lag time, several months ago. Two new ideas were discussed. One was a modified block schedule, alternating days of 80 minutes. The second was the trimester block schedule, which is essentially three 12-week sessions.
Each option that Smith presented is designed to better organize instruction time, thus getting more minutes in a week and hours in a month.
At the April board meeting, Smith informed the board that the high school would go with the trimester schedule and would implement it beginning this Fall.
“A 12-week trimester gets you 70 hours of instruction time. An 18-week semester gets you only 75 hours of instruction time, so you can see the (benefit) of a trimester,” added Smith.
The new system will not effect the overall school year calendar, which was approved at the board’s February meeting. It will however, effect student’s daily routines.
While allowing for more instructional time, the new schedule will eliminate high school athletic practices during school hours. Athletic teams at the middle school will be able to continue practicing during school hours, however. Smith reported that Moore County and Cascade are the only two schools competing in District 9-A that currently have athletics embedded into their daily school schedule.
Another change mentioned was the lunch schedule at the campus, which houses both middle school students and high school students.
“We need to cut from four lunch periods to three,” suggested Smith, adding that two high school lunch periods and one middle school lunch period would be more efficient.
.The longer trimester schedule will allow for easy incorporation of in-depth lessons and activities such as science labs, possible field trips, student-initiated projects, in-class writing and research and extended discussions.
Incoming freshmen students were introduced to the new system last week, as their ninth-grade orientation was held on April 23.
—By ROBERT HOLMAN, MCN Editor (Robert Holman may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)